For one week in September, nearly 4,000 restaurants across the nation and hundreds of thousands of consumers helped fight childhood hunger in America. The first annual Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out®, presented by American Express, raised $500,000 towards ending childhood hunger.

Share Our Strength will use funds raised from this campaign to help: increase participation in school food and nutrition programs across the country; develop more community gardens, food banks and food pantries; improve access to fresh produce; promote use of federal child food and nutrition programs, e.g. food stamps, school breakfast, etc.; and advocate for stronger child food and nutrition-related programs nationwide

The Great American Dine Out rallied restaurants from the entire industry—from coffee shops to fine- dining establishments. Participating restaurants included: Corner Bakery, Legal Sea Foods, Buffalo Wild Wings, Caribou Coffee, Elephant Bar and Restaurant, Joe’s Crab Shack, Lone Star Steakhouse, The Melting Pot, Famous Dave’s, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, and Union Square Hospitality Group.

“Over the years, Share Our Strength’s success has been attributed to the generosity of the nation’s culinary community,” says Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, “This year, we’re extremely grateful for the overwhelming support we received for the Dine Out—especially during these difficult economic times when companies, restaurants and individuals have had to make significant cutbacks to make ends meet.”

“We were thrilled to be a part of Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out—all of our locations participated in this first-ever event to fight childhood hunger in America,” says Ray Blanchette, CEO of Joe’s Crab Shack and Chairman of the Great American Dine Out Board. “As chairman of this year’s board, I will work to engage more restaurants to join, and help close the gap on childhood hunger in our nation.”

The second annual Great American Dine Out is set for September 20—26, 2009. Registration is open and restaurants are already signing up. Restaurants and companies can participate in a variety of ways. For more information on how to get involved, visit

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